Courtesy of San Benito High School:
After receiving clearance last week from the San Benito County Department of Public Health, San Benito High School’s Athletic Department has authorized Phase 2 of athletic cohorts, allowing student-athlete conditioning in indoors facilities on campus, including the Mattson Gym, as well as the weight room and Judy Rider Wrestling Room. Fifteen SBHS sports teams have been conducting conditioning this Fall, featuring approximately 444 athletes in 41 cohorts.
The coach-led workouts indoors continue the health and safety requirements in place for the outdoor conditioning that student-athletes have been doing in Andy Hardin Stadium and the multi-purpose field on campus, including the mandatory wearing of masks as students arrive at and leave from conditioning, maintaining of a minimum of six feet of physical distancing, no games or sharing of equipment, and cohorts maxing out at a 14-to-1 or 14-to-2 student-coach ratio.
Boys’ basketball, for example, began conditioning in Mattson Gym on Thursday with two cohorts, whereas girls’ volleyball, which begins its indoors conditioning on Monday, Nov. 16, has three. Baler wrestling will begin with two cohorts conditioning in the wrestling room by doing no-contact skill drills. Fourteen students will participate in a boys’ volleyball cohort next week. Track and field is working in two cohorts and cheerleading is conditioning in five cohorts.
Other student groups, such as the Associated Student Body (ASB) and band, for example have their own cohorts. Students must choose which activity to participate in and may not be a part of more than one on-campus cohort — meaning that, as an example, an ASB officer who plays sports may either participate in the conditioning cohort for their sport or the ASB cohort, not both. Likewise, a student-athlete who plays both basketball and football may only participate in the coach-led, on-campus conditioning for one sport, so as not to have students from various cohorts mixing.
Starting Monday, Nov. 16, the Baler football team will begin using the on-campus weight room, divided into eight cohorts, with sanitization of the equipment before, during and after each new cohort uses the facility. Masks are required to be worn by students and coaches throughout all indoor workouts. Lacrosse and other teams are developing plans to utilize the weight room as well, San Benito High School Athletic Director Tod Thatcher said.
The conditioning is being done ahead of an expected Dec. 14 start date of practices and competition for Fall sports teams, including football, which has its first two home games scheduled for Jan. 8 and 15 at Andy Hardin Stadium. The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) is expecting to provide further guidance soon based on recommendations from Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency.
Thatcher thanked county health officials and district administrators for working to ensure a safe return to conditioning and a possible return to competition and the coaches and players for working hard despite the uncertainty about their seasons.
“Everyone’s staying optimistic,” he said, while adding that everyone is realistic that the safety of students and staff will be the paramount factor considered by state, regional and local officials when deciding upon the status of high school athletics.
Student-athletes are encouraged to contact their coaches for more information about conditioning cohorts and may also reach out to Thatcher at firstname.lastname@example.org, Becky Doty at email@example.com or by visiting the Athletics page of the school website.